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Title: Nanowires and Nanostructures That Grow Like Polymer Molecules

Unique properties (e.g., rubber elasticity, viscoelasticity, folding, reptation) determine the utility of polymer molecules and derive from their morphology (i.e., one-dimensional connectivity and large aspect ratios) and flexibility. Crystals do not display similar properties because they have smaller aspect ratios, they are rigid, and they are often too large and heavy to be colloidally stable. We argue, with the support of recent experimental studies, that these limitations are not fundamental and that they might be overcome by growth processes that mimic polymerization. Furthermore, we (i) discuss the similarities between crystallization and polymerization, (ii) critically review the existing experimental evidence of polymer-like growth kinetic and behavior in crystals and nanostructures, and (iii) propose heuristic guidelines for the synthesis of “polymer-like” crystals and assemblies. Understanding these anisotropic materials at the boundary between molecules and solids will determine whether we can confer the unique properties of polymer molecules to crystals, expanding them with topology, dynamics, and information and not just tuning them with size.
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Iowa State University
  2. Ames Laboratory
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
IS-J 8195
Journal ID: ISSN 1521-4095
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Advanced Materials (Online); Journal Volume: 25; Journal Issue: 35
Research Org:
Ames Laboratory (AMES), Ames, IA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; POLYMERS; CRYSTALLIZATION; NANOSTRUCTURES nanowires; polymers; crystallization; nanostructures; self-assembly